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Rare coastal chart of the northern part of the Coast of Ecuador, published by the British Admiralty.

The map extends from the Valdivia Region in the south to just north of Esmeraldas.

Henry Kellett

Henry Kellett (1806-1875), joined the Royal Navy in 1822. He spent three years in the West Indies and then served on survey vessels under William Fitzwilliam Owen, in Africa, as second in command of HMS Sulphur, under Edward Belcher in the East Indies.

While serving under Beechey, Beechey was commissioned to lead another Pacific survey in 1836, but illness forced him back to Britain, resulting in Henry Kellett assuming command of the survey, at the time the present surveying and charting work was undertaken.

He later captained the HMS Starling in the First Opium War with China, during which he was promoted to Commander in 1841 and Post-Captain in 1842.

In 1845, he was appointed captain of the survey ship HMS Herald, being reassigned in 1848, to join the search for Sir John Franklin. During this voyage he sailed through the Bering Strait across the Chukchi Sea and discovered Herald Island. Kellett landed on Herald Island and named it after his ship. He also sighted Wrangel Island in the western horizon. William Pullen was on this expedition. In 1852, he commanded HMS Resolute and went to the aid of Robert McClure, whose vessel, Investigator, was trapped in the Arctic.[2] His men constructed a storehouse on Dealy Island off the south coast of Melville Island.

He became Senior Officer in the West Indies in 1855, Admiral Superintendent of the Malta Dockyard in 1864, and Commander-in-Chief, China Station, in 1869.

British Admiralty Biography

The British Admiralty has produced nautical charts since 1795 under the auspices of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (HO). Its main task was to provide the Royal Navy with navigational products and service, but since 1821 it has also sold charts to the public.

In 1795, King George III appointed Alexander Dalrymple, a pedantic geographer, to consolidate, catalogue, and improve the Royal Navy’s charts. He produced the first chart as the Hydrographer to the Admiralty in 1802. Dalrymple, known for his sticky personality, served until his death in 1808, when he was succeeded by Captain Thomas Hurd. The HO has been run by naval officers ever since.

Hurd professionalized the office and increased its efficiency. He was succeeded by the Arctic explorer Captain William Parry in 1823. By 1825, the HO was offering over seven hundred charts and views for sale. Under Parry, the HO also began to participate in exploratory expeditions. The first was a joint French-Spanish-British trip to the South Atlantic, a voyage organized in part by the Royal Society of London.

In 1829, Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort was appointed Hydrographer Royal. Under his management, the HO introduced the wind force scale named for him, as well as began issuing official tide tables (1833). It was under Beaufort that HMS Beagle completed several surveying missions, including its most famous voyage commanded by Captain FitzRoy with Charles Darwin onboard. When Beaufort retired in 1855, the HO had nearly two thousand charts in its catalog.

Later in the nineteenth century, the HO supported the Challenger expedition, which is credited with helping to found the discipline of oceanography. The HO participated in the International Meridian Conference which decided on the Greenwich Meridian as the Prime Meridian. Regulation and standardization of oceanic and navigational measures continued into the twentieth century, with the HO participating at the first International Hydrographic Organization meeting in 1921.

During World War II, the HO chart making facility moved to Taunton, the first purpose-built building it ever inhabited. In 1953, the first purpose-built survey ship went to sea, the HMS Vidal. Today, there is an entire class of survey vessels that make up the Royal Navy’s Hydrographic Squadron. The HO began to computerize their charts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968, the compilation staff also came to Taunton, and the HO continues to work from there today.